Orphaned baby polecats rescued by RSPCA

Polecat The polecat babies were all found abandoned

Related Stories

Three baby polecat orphans have been rescued from three different locations.

One of the creatures was just four weeks old when it was discovered in Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, and has had to be hand-reared.

The other two were found in Carmarthenshire's Brechfa forest and near Borth in Ceredigion.

Polecats were driven to the brink of extinction in Britain early last century after persecution by farmers and gamekeepers.

Polecat The first kit had to be fed with a syringe

They were limited to a small area of Wales but are now on the rise again and can now be found throughout Wales, the midlands and central southern England and parts of Scotland.

Ellie West from the RSPCA said she had only dealt with two polecats in 15 years.

"It is quite unusual to have so many babies found in such a short period of time," she said.

"They were not injured, but they had all been found without their parents who had not returned to them," she said.

Polecats
  • They are closely related to the domestic ferrets and have blackish hairs with yellow under fur on the body, and dark "bandit" patches around the face
  • Their name comes from the French 'poule chat' or 'chicken cat' because they were thought to be a threat to poultry
  • The polecat's diet consists of rabbits and rats and they are often found around farm buildings in winter hunting rats
  • In the wild, a female polecat usually has one litter of five to eight kits per year in May/June
  • Babies are born hairless and blind and begin to eat meat from three weeks. In September/ October, the kits leave the mother to try to build a territory of their own
  • Although they occur in a wide range of habitats, they prefer lowland areas such as valleys and farmland with hedgerows and small woods

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Wales stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Martin Gardner as a young manThink hard

    Was this man the world's greatest puzzle master?


  • Carved pumpkinTrick or treat

    What did a riot at a pumpkin festival show about race in US?


  • A woman puts on a surgical mask during hospital Ebola training in Alabama.'Dark continent'

    Is prejudice fuelling Ebola outbreak hysteria in the US?


  • Oscar de la Renta and Oprah WinfreyIn pictures

    The life and work of Oscar de la Renta


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FutureThe future is now

    Get the latest updates and biggest ideas from BBC Future’s World-Changing Ideas Summit

Programmes

  • Smart glassesClick Watch

    Smart spectacles go into battle – the prototypes looking to take on Google Glass

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.